The Challenge of Being Ethical and Competitive
“Because we dared to dream, dared to work hard, we have turned dreams into realities, to leave some huge footprints on every aerospace frontier. Now it is time to create some new footprints!” ~ Phil Condit, CEO, 1996
Boeing Chief Executive Phil Condit stared blankly at the road early Saturday evening as he drove to Boeing Headquarters. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, contemplating the crucial decision at hand. The Boeing Board of Directors was to gather that night to decide whether or not to fire Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Mike Sears and Darleen Druyun, the Vice President of Missile-Defense Systems. Recent events had caused executives to question the appropriateness of the hiring of Druyun by Sears. Sears offered Druyun a job last year while she was employed as an acquisition official for the U.S. Air Force. At the time, she was reviewing a $21 billion proposal for the Air Force to lease 100 Boeing 767 air-borne-refueling tankers. Boeing assigned external and in-house lawyers to review Sears and Druyun’s conduct more than a month ago. In the initial stages of the investigation the lawyers did not find any impropriety; two weeks ago however, the fate of Boeing changed when the lawyers uncovered improper contact between Sears and Druyun. The lawyers discovered evidence from e-mails and interviews that Sears’ contacted Druyun about employment with Boeing in October 2002, while she was reviewing the tanker contract. This directly violated Boeing’s hiring policies. Condit grew weary recalling that these events have surfaced only months after Boeing lost $1 billion in government contracts and was suspended from new space contracts, following the scandal involving stolen Lockheed Martin documents. As Condit sat at the head of the table with other Board Members, they discussed the most recent developments of the case, including statements by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Senator John McCain that indicated further investigations and possible suspensions of government contracts. The Board realizes that the current situation could hamper the positive relations recently gained with the Pentagon. These positive relations are based on renewed emphasis on ethics at Boeing, but the Sears-Druyun scandal seems to give fuel to Boeing critics and an edge to its competitors.
HISTORY AND CULTURE
From the Battlefields to the Moon
William Boeing left Yale University to seek a life out West in 1903, the same year the Wright brothers made aviation history with their first flight in North Carolina. William Boeing expressed his vision when he said, “We are embarked as pioneers upon a new science and industry in which our problems are so new and unusual that it behooves no one to dismiss any novel idea with the statement, ‘It can’t be done’.” Soon after the Wright Brothers achievement, William Boeing began his career of building aircrafts. In 1916,
Boeing constructed his first two twin-float seaplanes and started his airplane manufacturing company Pacific Aero Products Company. Two year later, the business became Boeing Airplane Company.
World War I was the beginning of the nations’ aviation involvement in combat. During this conflict, the United States began their first use of airplanes in battle. Boeing Airplane Company received its first production order when the U.S. Navy ordered 50 of Boeing’s Model C planes. This Navy order, combined with an international aviation evolution, jumpstarted the rapid growth of the Boeing Airplane Company. From 1922 to 1925, the U.S. Navy awarded Boeing with a contract to build primary trainer airplanes and subsequently bought 71 of those trainers. In 1923, Boeing began a race with the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company to design the best pursuit fighter. Although they lost the race, six months later Boeing became the leading producer of fighters, a position they retained for the next...